It has been a long time coming, but 2017 will see the release of Thera Roya’s debut full length ‘Stone & Skin’. The Brooklyn sludge/post metal band has been putting out material since 2013 in the form of EP’s, splits, and singles and making a name for themselves through regular touring. With plenty of time to hone their ideas across shorter releases, it’s clear they’ve been able to push their ideas to an entirely new level on ‘Stone & Skin’. While there are familiar elements to their approach, both on the melodic and abrasive side, the way that Thera Roya brings everything together helps them to feel genuinely different. Today we’re excited to bring you a premiere of the third track from the album, Dream of Arrakis, in advance of its February 17th release date.
Sludge/post metal has certain connotations that come with those tags, but Thera Roya doesn’t pull from the same template as so many of the other bands out there, instead branching out on their own path. What you’ll notice upon pressing the play button is that the instrumentals take a sparser approach, letting the guitar melodies hang over the recording with an airier presence while the brooding bass lines drive things forward. Around a minute in, the drifting melodies give way to some heavy distortion that’s capable of shaking your room at the right volume, and as you get further through the five minute run time you’ll find more of these soft to abrasive transitions. There’s a density to the heavier, distorted sections that’s reminiscent of some of bands like Conan, but it is used in an unpredictable fashion and Thera Roya likes to use it in a manner that throws you off guard rather than being the defining feature of the music. It’s both atmospheric and crushing depending on what part of the song you’re listening to, with a little bit of that abrasive jolt of noise rock added in for good measure.
The band’s drummer Ryan also handles the vocals, and this is where I was getting a lot of the noise rock vibes from. When Dream of Arrakis starts off he goes for a cleaner approach, with softer pitches that move upwards towards some jagged edges. It reminds me of a number of different noise rock bands from years past, where the singing would start off fairly mellow and get more abrasive and in your face as a song progressed. But this isn’t all that Thera Roya has to offer vocal wise, as you’ll discover after a few minutes that there’s a quick transition over to deep, guttural growls. The growling and higher vocal ranges fit nicely together and help to make these guys hard to pin down stylistically, which has continued to draw me back for listen after listen.
Dream of Arrakis is just a small taste of everything Thera Roya has to offer on ‘Stone & Skin’, but it’s sure to hook fans of everything from sludge to noise rock. With a perfect balance of airier, sweeping melodies that put you under their spell and sudden, jarring transitions into booming riffing and pounding drums, these guys know how to leave a lasting impression. ‘Stone & Skin’ is out February 17th.